Here's a report published today on the NPS Digest about the recent law enforcement operation on the Gatlinburg Spur leading into the Park:
Each April and September, the city of Pigeon Forge hosts a car show know as the Rod Run. This traditionally has increased the volume of traffic into the park, specifically on a section of US 441 commonly referred to as the Spur.
In past years, rangers have seen an increase in the number of alcohol, drug, DUI, reckless driving, simple assault and other disorderly conduct offenses during these events. Rangers have accordingly taken a proactive approach to decreasing these incidents, employing sobriety checkpoints, focused patrols, and deliberate traffic management plans. These enforcement efforts are aimed at increasing visitor safety and public awareness.
In order to manage the increased law enforcement activity and other emergency incidents related to the Rod Run, the Tennessee District was managed under ICS on September 17th and 18th. An incident action plan was developed to provide clarity to the park’s management team and field staff on what was being done and how it is was to be done safely. The principles of operational leadership were incorporated into the plan and a GAR risk assessment model was developed for the event.
On Friday, rangers conducted focused patrols on the Spur from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.; on Saturday, they set up an incident command post and managed traffic starting at 6 p.m. on the Spur at the King Branch exit.
On Friday, rangers made 36 vehicle stops and issued a total of 38 violation notices and written warnings. On Saturday, they made another 39 vehicle stops, issued a total of 43 violation notices and written warnings, arrested seven people for DUI, and arrested another three for public intoxication.
Over the course of the weekend, Tennessee rangers also responded to several MVA’s and other incidents, including a motorcycle that ended up in the Little River and a hiker who experiencing an allergic reaction in the backcountry. The park’s management efforts have been supported by locals as well as park visitors traveling through the area. Supervisory Park Ranger Bobby Fleming was IC for the incident.